VIDEO: Five Hatteras youth sailors participate in Junior Olympic Festival

[submitted photo]

Hatteras Island junior sailors road-tripped to Hampton this past weekend to participate in the US SAILING and Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association Junior Olympic Festival at Hampton Yacht Club.

This was the first large sailing competition for Hatteras Sailing youth since its start last summer. From the Invitational/Advanced Sailing Program 5 of the six team members were able to attend.

Junior Olympic Festivals were created by US Sailing, the Newport RI based governing Association for the Sport of Sailing in the USA for the purpose of introducing and growing the sport for youth nationwide.

Hatteras kids signed up for what is called the Green Fleet racing in the International Optimist One Design sailboats. Green fleet is the introductory level training fleet, where the kids can get training and coaching while they participate in racing events.

More seasoned sailors participate in Red, White, and Blue Optimist classes, Laser, and 420 Class competitions. There were about 130 boats competing overall, and our local kids raced against 25 other regional sailors in the Green Fleet, with some finishing in races as far up the pecking order as 4th place.

“Sponsors and Parents put forth a tremendous effort to make this possible for the local participants”, commented Jay Phillips, the Director of the Program.

Since starting last summer, Hatteras Community Sailing has been learning and growing steadily with mostly a year-round approach to sail and maritime training for youth.

Hatteras Sailing is a locally based non profit formed specifically for local island youth, fostering sailing and boating education and competitive opportunities.

Hatteras Sailing is managed by a seven-person Board of Directors and has grown its membership from scratch to about 30 members this second season.

One way the organization tries to accomplish its mission it by keeping participation fees very low. Funds are needed to run a program like this, but with the help of sponsors, parents and volunteers, our local program 8 week sessions are $35 per child for member families and $75 per child for non member families.

Comparatively, other Yacht Clubs and Community Sailing Programs normally run much shorter programs at much higher cost and membership, some over $1000 per child.

With continued community support, Hatteras Sailing has hopes to continue growing the program and offering high quality nationally competitive coaching.

For Summer Session 2021, Hatteras Sailing has 3 levels of training sessions for the kids.

Beginners classes focus on ensuring good swimming and in the water skills while making basic introductions to boating skills. The Intermediate classes focus on reinforcing the basic boat skills with a lot more sailing time. The Advanced/Invitational team consists of youth who complete a checklist of basic sailing skills and are ready to get started with competitive sailing.

There is an overall emphasis on making the experience motivational and fun, so they want to come back every week and learn more skills. This Summer Session we have 6 advanced sailors, 8 intermediate, and 8 beginners from ages 7 to 13, for a total of 22 participants in the 8 week Summer 2021 Session.

We are extremely proud of the 5 youth participating in the Jr Olympic Festival.

They did a great job sailing amongst some tough competition from very strong and well funded institutions like Hampton Yacht Club, Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Severn Sailing Association and several others.

While not having the vast demographic resources of these organizations, Hatteras Island does possess something much more important.

We have lots of wind, great sailing and watersports geography, and parents with a love and desire for their children to have strong watersports experience. Good Job! – Max Syrrist(11), Cami Sedlak(13), Noah Phillips(11), Joey Lettieri(13), and Beau Phillips(7)!!! It took serious determination and perseverance to be a part of this!

Our Sailing Team is looking forward to upcoming and continued competition experiences in Manteo, Deltaville, Beaufort, Hampton, and Annapolis later this Summer and Fall.

Hatteras Sailing is entertaining the idea of hosting sailing events on the Island in 2022 and is open to input and suggestions from the Community on how this might be possible.

There were some impressive contributions by business and individual sponsors. Special thanks go out to:

  • OBX Spice Company
  • Phillips Boatworks
  • MSP Media
  • Island Pools and Spas
  • Wooden Sea Tree Care
  • The Dunleavy Family
  • The Lindner Family
  • The Cavitt Family

For more information on Hatteras Community Sailing, how to register for sailing sessions, membership, and sponsor opportunities please check our website and Facebook page